FINAL VIDEO

Here is my final video called “shifting focus” – available in full HD !

ABOUT “SHIFTING FOCUS”:

In our digital age not everyone is also a participating digital citizen. The digital divide, which refers to “those who have the resources and capabilities to use telecommunications technologies and those who don’t” (Crenshaw, 2010), excludes certain groups of people from the digital sphere.

My video project “shifting focus” focuses on one of these groups, senior citizens, a generation which forms part of “the so-called ‘grey divide’, a divide among seniors of age 65+ years” as it is found that “Internet use is strongly skewed in this age group leading to a partial exclusion of the old seniors (70+)” (Friemel, 2014, p.1) and this “social exclusion is related mostly to the third dimension of digital media literacy: the ability to create and participate.” (Park, 2012, p.1)

For the project I interviewed three people, aged between 68 and 82, with different digital media literacy. Judith and Thea understand the concept of social media and have their own Facebook accounts, though not very actively participating, they use them to keep in touch with people and look at photographs of their family. John on the other hand does not use a computer at all.

The project explores, through the subject of photography, the changes technology has brought and how the value of images has changed over time. This is created through two main approaches – the first one is to remember old images of themselves taken by someone else and the second one is to take a selfie with a smartphone. This means not only introducing a foreign concept to them but forcing them to point the camera towards themselves, unlike the old image that was taken by someone else.

Revised Proposal

One sentence:

My video project explores old and new photography conventions and the representation of senior citizens in social media by making them remember their old portraits and make them take a selfie using a smart phone which will be recorded as interviews as well as supported visually through footage of their photographs and them taking the selfie.

Paragraph:

When thinking about new technology and photography conventions, it becomes clear that the generation over 70 is somehow exempt from this process as they are not using smartphones as excessively as young people do. One of these young people phenomena is the “selfie”, a certain type of self portrait that has become widely popular in the last couple of years and it is very rarely that one might encounter a “selfie” of an old person. This I want to challenge and let old people take a selfie of themselves, ask them what they think about it and then also juxtapose this new image with an old image of them they had taken when they were young. After interviewing them I will assemble the images together with the audio recording in a video with which I can show the physicality of the old images they are remembering but also show how they were taking selfies and insert those.

Full:

Thinking about social media and new technologies it becomes clear that the generation over 70 is not majorly participating in the digital sphere, some might use smart phones but the majority of them aren’t and they are especially not using it the way young people do.

I’m interested to find out what their opinion is on new technology and especially the phenomena of the “selfie”, probably something new to them.

I’d like to juxtapose an old image of them (black and white portrait) and record an audio of their memory of the image and how it was taken, how they felt etc. and then explain them the idea of the selfie and let them take one of themselves.

This will happen through meeting and interviewing them, the recorded interviews will be turned into the narrative of the video and the footage of the images/photo albums + them taking the selfie will be used as visuals.

The interview questions will be based on ideas around the social exclusion of the elderly in society through the fast moving development of new technology, how especially photography has changed throughout the years, not just from a technology point of view but also how people use it to represent themselves. Both, the portraiture in the 1940’s and the modern selfie taking are following certain patterns and conventions and it would be interesting to see how senior citizens feel using new technology being enabled to take a photo of themselves and what they think about “selfies”.

How much does it differ from old conventions?

Audio edit done

This is my final audio!

I tried to make it sound as if they were discussing and thinking together, linking certain pieces together that match or even respond to each other. I could achieve this because I asked them the same questions which was helpful and also good to create contrasting opinions.

I chose Thea to start and end the piece and I especially like her last phrase about all the wonderful books and that it is such a waste of time to photograph yourself. I thought to end the piece with quite a strong opinion which leaves the viewer with something to think about.

I divided the piece into two parts – the old and the new – with a gap in the middle which I fill fill with visuals of their selfies (the actual still images) and the snapping sound. This way I’ll introduce the fact that they took selfies and then it starts straight away with their reflection. To have a short break of talking and the selfies coming up on the screen gives the viewer a moment to refocus on a new topic.

The audio covers (in order):

– memory of when the b/w photo was taken
– Judy pointing out that it was always an occasion moving the content from pure memory to a wider context
– John wrapping it up stating that people didn’t take an awful lot of photographs
– Thea saying when she received her first camera, John saying it was an ordinary box camera (which was the case for all three of them)
– Moving on to what they would take photographs of (landscapes, close ups..)
– Judy talking about the excitement of the photographs being developed
– John saying that he got bored with it and had better things to do (army)
– Judy reminiscing more over the surprising outcomes of the photos and how they would worry about their appearance
– Then Thea saying that you wouldn’t take photographs of yourself in those days (leading to selfie topic)
– PAUSE (selfies popping up on screen)
– Them talking about how it made them feel to take a selfie, that it was a horrible experience and they would never do it again
– Wondering why people would do it, how putting photos out on the internet can be dangerous and people can leave cruel replies
– Thinking whether it is a confidence thing or whether it brings reassurance
– John talking about his observations that the youth is immersed into their devices, doesn’t take in surroundings
– Thea saying that there are so many wonderful books out there to read and asking why people would waste time photographing themselves

The narrative covers a lot of things related to photography, showing the changes in technology (developing pictures, waiting for them, anticipation.. and how now everything is instant) and I think it is especially interesting to hear their thoughts about the modern way of self portraiture and how they debate whether it might be dangerous or not and the reasons behind taking selfies. Because they don’t know much about it they just see it from a personal view and maybe also more in a psychological way (confidence, reassurance..) – which is what also research is focusing on, why exactly people do these things and how they are related to narcism.
With the narrative I also wanted to create the contrast between the things they would photograph and how it made them feel back then and the things people photograph now. They are not only pointing the camera towards an object, like the Eiffel Tower for example, but they put themselves in there, making them the center point. Just photographing the object almost doesn’t look like you’ve actually been there if you’re not in the picture.
I also like the fact that the differences between the interviewees shines through, with John being the most “distant” to photography and technology in general, then Thea who is probably the most critical and Judy the most “modern”.

Based on the audio I will also use footage of the computer screen which shows their Facebook profile and follow their thoughts by browsing through their social media and google images. To do this I will use Quicktime player, which records the screen activity as a HD .mp4 which I can insert into the video.

Work Flow & Narrative

After doing the test editing I started to work on the audio. I thought, as I didn’t have a storyboard at the beginning I need to create that first. Hence why, I need to cut all the interviews and select the interesting parts.

To do that with a system I first thought about creating a folder for each interviewee and saving each clip that I cut calling it “whatevertheytalkaboutinthatclip” in the according folder. So let’s say I’m cutting John’s interview, I would then open the whole interview from his folder and then cut a section that I find interesting with him talking about his father doing the album for example and Save As “johns_father_creating_album.wav” and so on… In the end I would have three folders for each interviewee with all clips saved and titled with the topic they talk about. Those three I could then import into a new project and start putting the clips together.
That would have meant a lot of exporting though, time I don’t really have.

So I came up with a better system!

I imported all three original interviews into one new project. I gave each person their own colour so I knew which clip belonged to whom (with three people that’s quite easy and it definitely saved me from a lot of confusion in the next steps).
From there I started cutting all bits from Track 1 and dragged them down to Track 2, titling them with what they were talking about in the clip (roughly).

screenshot2 Titled clips

This was still very time consuming as I had 1:45h of interview footage but at least I didn’t need to export anything. I could re-open my session and continue working easily too.

screenshot Overview

Then I deleted all of Track 1 (everything I didn’t need, mainly my own voice or unnecessary things) and put all of Track 2 onto Track 1 to start again from there.

screenshot3 Coloured clips and storyline underneath

Now I had many many small clips all titled and coloured. From here I started creating a “storyboard”. I go by ear, whatever sounded best as a start I tried out and “felt” how it sounds. I want to start straight with the interviewee voice, there will be no narrator. I quite like if what they say just works on the listener without hearing someone asking specific questions and them responding. I also thought it would be definitely too boring to divide it into three parts with each person talking (showing the specific visuals for each of them).
That’s why I rather thought about how my three interviewees could “interact” and because I asked them all the same questions I thought I could “puzzle” them together talking a bit about each topic, almost as if they were sitting around a table talking. It will become clear through their reactions and things they mention that they are responding to the same question and this way I can move from one topic to the other quite smoothly.

After listening to all the clips I decided that starting with the description of the black and white photograph would be an interesting beginning. Especially Thea’s voice works very well and also what she says gives a good introduction, as it is not too clear but still gives you a sense of what it might be about. Then Judy and John get more specific about their photograph being taken and it becomes clear that they are talking about their memory.

Roughly I will still divide the video into two parts, the b/w and the selfie, the past and the present.
I thought about it and also about mixing the two but I think it works best this way, also in terms of visuals and cutting. I envision the first part to be a bit slower in cuts, smoother, softer as it is connected to memory and the second part with a few faster cuts, also inserting the own selfies they took, like a camera snapshot and their reactions and thoughts about it, but instead of long winding sentences they will appear shorter and faster one after another. That’s the rough idea which I then still need to try out and see how it works.

I want to have the audio done by Thursday evening. I will use the three hours in the morning to work further on the narrative, then I will edit and polish the audio once I have the final clip, which means taking out background noise, any other disruptions, making sure all sections link smoothly together, fade in/out etc.

Decided on video & what’s next

After trying out to test edit the footage and realising that the Image Stabilizer is doing quite a good job at putting it out as something usable I’ve decided to definitely focus on Premiere and making a video than a web project.
Because editing the footage will be time consuming and will take a lot of detail focusing on just one program and “flowing” with it seems more appropriate.

This leaves me with a reverse approach to making a video/film project though. As I didn’t really plan to take any video at all at the beginning and then developed the idea further and further, I actually took the video footage as something that will be implemented in the website, something that undermines the interviews – not something that is standing on its own at the end (like a “video only” project would do).
That is also why, when I met up with the interviewees a second time to take the footage, I didn’t have a storyboard or a clear vision of the shots in mind as you usually would for a film project. I knew that I wanted to mainly capture the physicality of the photographs as we discussed in our tutorial and the people taking the selfie. Additionally to that I also filmed the rooms and details at their home (luckily I did that so I ended up with a lot more footage which I can now use!).
It is not just the footage though, I also took the audio as “free standing” interviews. When I took them I thought about each person having their own little audio profile, with one short clip talking about the old image and another short clip reflecting about the new selfie experience. Now, I need to interlink the people for my video project, I need to create my storyboard from what I have not from what I’m planning to still record knowing exactly what I want.

So it is all a bit of a reverse approach, with the interviews and video footage I now have to create something interesting, link it all well together and create an interesting narrative.
This is what I need to do next, listen to the audio again and again and filter out what I want to include in the video (which I think will be around 5 min. long) to slowly create a narrative and from there add the visuals.

First test edits of the video footage

As part of my post production process I started editing my video footage. As it is quite shaky I have started to try out and apply editing tools to it – one being the Warp Stabilizer and the other the Speed/Duration option.

Premiere won’t allow me to apply both at the same time, so I had to play around with it, trying to first apply one of them, export and then apply the other – also trying it with After Effects.

It turned out that because I shot in 25fps the Speed/Duration didn’t work smoothly, the visuals started jumping which left me to the conclusion to firstly only apply the Warp Stabilizer for each and every clip and see what it does to the footage.

Some bits that I applied the Warp Stabilizer to worked very smoothly and nice, with others it created a strange wobble effect in the background. So I really just have to go from one clip to the other and see if it works or not.

I created a short sample video of some stabilized clips, always showing the original first and then followed by the stabilised version. For example the postcard clip, I think, looks great as well as the photo closeup (especially the zooming out of it) and the zooming in into the room as an opening shot. The last clip in the video didn’t work quite as well, it has the wobble effect in the background and I think the original footage works better than the edited one.

As for the slow-motion, I will need to see which clips need slowing down and I need to find another way of creating slow-motion than just changing the Speed/Duration.

Here’s a very good tutorial I watched to trouble-shoot my problem:

http://www.videomaker.com/courses/17282-faking-slow-motion-timewarp-twixtor-and-clip-speed

It explains different ways of slowing down footage and also addresses how these can work with 25fps footage.

Assets Reflection

As the project has taken on an additional medium (video) interviewing and taking footage of 6 people, like initially thought, would be a bit too much – hence why 4 people is now the maximum.

Now I need to decide what to do with the material I have. After the last tutorial creating a video project became an option, instead of creating a web project. This depends on whether I want to put the effort into learning Flash to make it all work or whether I just want to focus on working with Premiere (something I already know) and create a short video.

Putting the material together on a website would just be a form of presentation, there is no interactivity in what I imagined. This is why it might also work as a video project as form of presenting it. Listening back to the interviews I found that there are a lot of great reactions and thoughts my interviewees had and that could underline the footage in quite a nice way.

If I’m doing the website I still need to cut the video together and arrange it in an appealing way, editing it, cutting it and applying effects like slowing it down, stabilising etc.

Creating a website additionally to that might be quite a lot but I will find out once I have another tutorial with Phil to actually get a site together and make it work.

Depending on what I do I would need one more person to interview.

I think for a video 3 people is enough because if it’s more than three voices it might be a bit confusing to listen to. That means if I wanted to do the video I actually already have all my material gathered (unless I want to add something visually to it).

If it’s on a website though, 4 people would give it a good balance, preferably with another male. That is my next thing to decide and work on.